Is Lionel Messi the greatest? After watching him in Tuesday’s game it would be hard to argue that he isn't the best in the world.

Messi broke Cesár Rodríguez's career goals record for Barcelona, scoring his eighth hat trick of the season in Tuesday night's 5-3 Spanish league win over Granada to increase his total to 234.

Messi the Great

The 24-year-old, who made his Barcelona debut in 2004, tied Rodríguez's record on a left-footed shot in the 17th minute for his 232nd goal, then chipped the goalkeeper for a 3-2 lead in the 67th. He added a goal from a tight angle in the 86th, increasing his season total to a career-best 54.

Late Monday, Barcelona announced Rodríguez's total from 1942-55 was three fewer than the team previously said. A review by Barcelona's Center of Documentation and Studies and the La Vanguardia newspaper determined he did not score goals attributed to him during the 1947-48, 1948-49, 1949-50 and 1952-53 seasons and also credited him with an additional goal in 1945-46.

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Messi, a three-time FIFA player of the year, has scored in seven straight games, totaling 17 goals. He leads La Liga with 34 goals, two ahead of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

The hat trick was Messi's 18th for Barcelona. His six hat tricks in La Liga tie the season record set by Ronaldo last year.

Just last a few weeks ago Messi scored five goals in one game.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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